World’s strongest: New Salem’s Jack Reynolds setting top marks in powerlifting

  • Franklin Tech’s Jack Reynolds with his first place trophy from the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2022 4:59:54 PM
Modified: 4/26/2022 4:58:25 PM

One of the world’s strongest 15 year olds resides in New Salem.

Jack Reynolds — a freshman at Franklin County Technical School — takes his weight training seriously. He began lifting at the age of 11 and this year, he competed in his first powerlifting competition. It went about as well as he could have imagined. 

Reynolds competed in the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate in Natick on April 9 and put up 280 pounds on the bench press. That broke the world record for 14-15 year olds in the 181-pound weight class, a mark previously set by Nick Apseloff in 2007 (270 pounds). 

Not only did Reynolds set the world record for bench press in his age and weight class, but his three-lift total of 1,125 pounds in the bench, deadlift and squat also broke the 14-15 year old world record in the 181-pound weight class. That number broke the record set by Zach Rebollido in 2006 (1,005 pounds).

“I was preparing for this for a while,” Reynolds said. “I knew my numbers and had the goal of breaking those records. I was really happy after. I’m not sure it’s really hit me yet that I broke some world records.” 

Reynolds began training on his own with an at-home weight set when he was 11. About a year and a half ago, he began to work out at TRAIN Performance and Nutrition in Hadley. 

At TRAIN, he worked on perfecting his form to assure he was doing things safely, in addition to putting up more weight.

“I figured out the basics on my own,” Reynolds said. “They helped me make sure I was doing everything the right way with form. It was a big benefit for me.” 

Reynolds began looking for open meets he could compete in a few months ago, and while many were full, he stumbled upon the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate which still had open spots. 

The competition started with the squat, where he reached a maximum weight of 375 pounds. He then hit his record-breaking number of 280 pounds on the bench before closing out the day with the deadlift, where he pulled 470 pounds. 

Lifting in front of an audience for the first time in competition can be nerve-wracking, but Reynolds settled in early and took off from there. 

"I definitely felt the pressure at the beginning,” Reynolds said. “Then I realized I couldn’t let that hold me back at all. I just focused hard and got the job done.” 

Beginning with the squat didn’t make things easy, as he felt it would be the toughest lift for him, but he was happy with the number he put up. On the bench, he hit 265, then messed up his first attempt at 280 before fighting through and successfully completing it the second time. 

“I was really happy after that,” Reynolds said. “I’ve done slightly more in training but that’s what I needed to break the record. I had three chances but didn’t want to leave it up to one final attempt. Then I knew what numbers I had to get on the deadlift to break the [three-lift total record].” 

Reynolds said that while he may be the only one of his friends interested in powerlifting, that doesn’t bother him. He works out six or seven days a week, most days mixing in the lifts he does during competition. 

Not only has he begun working with trainers, but he’s bought powerlifting program books to help teach him other exercises to increase his strength in the major lifts. 

“It’s a lot of self motivation,” Reynolds said. “It’s easy to follow and it’s easy to track if you’re doing better. It’s just fun for me.” 

Reynolds plays football at Franklin Tech, and his progress in the weight room has been paying dividends on the gridiron. With another year of weight training, he’s hoping for a big sophomore year with the Eagles. 

As for powerlifting, he plans on competing again in July at the same competition in Natick. Reynolds is hoping to build off his first competition – this time as a world recorder holder.


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